Monday, 1 September 2014

Look Beautiful with Ingredients Around You...Know the Dangers Inherent with Big Names in Cosmetics

Look Beautiful with Ingredients Around You...Know the Dangers Inherent with Big Names in Cosmetics
There are some natural ingredients for beauty that are readily available to us, yet we neglect them and go for the big cosmetic names that most of the time contain hidden dangerous ingredients that could cause cancer and other skin diseases.
Maybe you have heard of the benefits of shea butter “ori” in Yoruba or “Ekwume” in Igbo and how important it is to the body. I know for one that my sister does not joke with it and uses it for her kids too. The result is always a nourished skin. Admittedly, the smell is not that wonderful, but compared to its benefit, one could as well use it in the night after bathing when you have less exposure to people.

It has been said to tackle rashes, healing wound marks and many others yet to be identified. But it isn’t just about shea butter that I want to talk to you today, there are other hidden beauty tricks in the following interview that you will gain from. Ladies, I know your ears are already perking...don’t worry, we will get to it in a jiffy. Read on…

Oluwadamilola Ogunsola, a cosmetic scientist, holds a B. Sc in Biochemistry from Babcock University, Ilisan- Remo, Ogun State, in Petroleum Technology from the University of Teesside, Middleborough, United Kingdom and a Diploma in Cosmetic Science from the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (I.F.S.C.C.), South Africa. In this interview with Tribune, she speaks on safe cosmetic products among sundry issues. Excerpts:

How I developed interest in Cosmetic Science and beauty products
Few days to my 10th birthday, I noticed dry skin patches on my two legs which I called “fish skin” and showed them to my mother, dad and grandmother.  My late grandmother, Janet Aduke Oredein, got me thinking when she mixed ori  ( shea butter), adiagbon (coconut oil), olive oil and oil from two capsules of Seven Seas cod liver oil in an empty Vaseline jar. I really can’t remember the smell of grandma’s mix, but I bet it was awful. My skin looked a lot better after the first three days of application just in time for my big day. This was actually what first ignited my interest. I said to myself, I will own a cosmetics company one day. As the years went by, I made enquiries about how cosmetics are produced and came across so many personal care products with attractive packaging, colours and aroma especially on my mother`s dressing table and school mother’s bag. That was how beauty/ personal care products as they are termed became fascinating to me. I eventually found out that there was some kind of science behind my fascination and that was what landed me in the science class.
 I studied Biochemistry at Babcock University, Ogun State, Nigeria, to give me a good grounding in basic sciences that would further help my determination to study cosmetic science.

On the allegation that some ingredients used in cosmetic products can cause cancer
I can testify to the fact that a lot of beauty products sold in Nigeria are considered as unsafe and hazardous. In 2004, the outcome of my Bachelor of Science final project titled “Analysis of body creams and lotions sold in Nigeria” assigned a task of promoting and providing safe cosmetics to me. I tested seventeen body creams and lotions at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO) at Oshodi, Lagos State, for certain chemicals using baby cream as a control. But guess what? Some of the products contained more than two per cent of hydroquinone, this is the highest percentage of this chemical allowed in cosmetic use. Some of the products contained hydroquinone but it was not even indicated on their information label. Alarming! Isn’t it? The use of hydroquinone in cosmetics and toiletry industry has been banned in some countries as I speak because of the known danger it poses to human health. Some of my findings revealed that same brand of products sold in Nigeria and abroad varied in composition.  What this means is that the products that are manufactured for the Nigerian community are substandard.

Why I started a cosmetic product line    
As I said earlier, my B.Sc final project assigned a task of promoting and providing safe cosmetics to me. I am responding to a need for simple, non-toxic, pure and effective body care solutions.  My goal is to set a new standard for safety in the beauty industry, helping consumers enjoy a healthy radiance with peace of mind.  We do not share the message about toxic chemicals to sell products; we created d’Ami to share the message. Our products are inspired by the simplicity of safe beauty products, regimen and tips of years gone by.  I am not just cashing in on a trend. I have always been safety conscious.

What the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition is all about
. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a broad-based coalition in the United States of America that is working to clean up the beauty aisle through public advocacy and market campaigns designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm and other adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products. We are working towards a Nigerian chapter where the community will be well informed about safe, non-toxic personal care products. The group will protect consumers, workers and the environment from exposure to chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm and other adverse health impacts and make sure everyone has access to safe personal care products, regardless of geography and income.

On D’Ami beauty products
d`Ami is the new line of cosmetics that I recently introduced into the Nigerian market. It is the new vintage beauty cosmetics. d’Ami is a safe beauty line that contains nature’s simplest and highly coveted beauty ingredients. The naked truth is that we use the freshest, purest stuff in the world and leave out everything else.  It’s paraben free and pampered with nutrients and essential oils that are reparative, hydrating and protective. It features a hand-crafted product of custom blended ingredients in frankincense and myrrh or gardenia essential oils plus shea butter. The oils are derived from precious extracts packed with nutrients and the most beneficial properties it can offer the skin. The pioneer products in the line are d’Ami Shea Butter Body Moisturizing Therapy - Frankincense &myrrh.

 How I came about the name; d’Ami
d’Ami, which is a short version of Oluwadamilola, pronounced as “the army” or “dear mi” with the Yoruba accent is simply retelling history.  That is; recreating and reintroducing beauty products, regimens / tips of years gone by and the enduring connection between people and beauty. We are digging into what it was like for beauty addicts’ back then in this modern era to produce safe, simple, effective, pure and better smelling products.

Advice to consumers on how to make good decisions about their personal care choices
It can be very overwhelming when you first find out about all the chemicals in most products, so I would recommend making small changes, a little at a time. When you run out of a particular product, research the ingredients in it, research the alternatives, and then choose a product that’s healthier.  Also learn to read the babels of whatever you are buying. It’s important to know what’s not in a product, as to know what is in it.

Challenges faced
Sourcing ingredients was the most challenging aspect. In 2010, when I first made an attempt to start, I had no access to a good manufacturer as well. I remember a meeting with a Nigerian skincare expert who ran an eco-friendly cosmetic company based in Maryland near Washington DC in the US also failed. Being in cosmetics sector requires a lot of research and you have to be a closet chemist to keep abreast of all the new data that comes out daily. You have to be wise to know the difference between hype and the truth too.

Coping with competition
I believe while it is important to keep one’s eye on the competition, I shouldn’t let it take away my focus, which should be on my goals. Many entrepreneurs get caught up in the fight against the competition instead of spending time being innovative and creative with their own business. It is important to stay focused and work towards being the best.

How I have been combining my business with the home front
In anything I do, regardless of the pressure, I put God first.  It will remain like that and I believe it’s a path towards success.  I have a helper sent from God, my husband. He is God’s gift to me, and a very rare one. I fondly call him “Uncle Sege of Africa”, Olusegun Ogunsola.Segun is proud of me, my dreams and career.  He is also very supportive and possesses qualities that inspire me and keep me going. This gives me the drive and energy to successfully combine the two. I have also been able to draw on a level of trust which sparks the motivation to get my business on board and get work done.

Beauty tips
I strongly believe that the first step in a skincare or beauty regimen should be boosting the health of your skin. The skin is an organ and requires specific nutrients to function properly. The requirements of these nutrients change constantly depending on overall health and external factors such as season, diet, pollution etc. I recommend eating healthy. Drink enough water daily, don’t worry, and be happy. Deep exfoliation twice a week will rid your skin of dulling dead-cell buildup. Use a scrub and buff gently in a circular motion. Rinse and gently pat the skin dry. Then moisturize using a good face cream.  I take proper care of my skin and extra care of my face and eyes.  I add oatmeal flakes to my bathwater and moisturize my skin after bath while still damp, ripe banana for my face and rose tea for my tired eyes.

Advice on how to stay young and beautiful
Rather than focusing on constantly trying to look younger, women and men should aim to look healthy. When one is healthy there is a high probability of looking younger and beautiful with a healthy glow.

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